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spoken word of life

July 23, 2007

A 17-year-old college freshman me walked 30 minutes through Missouri’s only monsoon to the first real open mic night of my life. (Because I’d already walked 30 minutes, so pressing on or going home was going to leave me similarly wet.) A girl I didn’t know, but who spoke the same body language as a good friend of mine back home, bought me a cup of coffee and I sat down at a table of three more people I didn’t know just in time for a crash course in spoken word.

What I heard in that tiny little café in a midwestern town that no one can name, startled me. It was the power of music in the potency of words. I love music, and I’ve always loved music, because it expresses the inexpressible. What it does not do is express the expressable.

Sometimes – many times – that which can be best communicated through word is exactly what a soul needs to hear or a heart needs to utter. Sometimes it is those things that are looked over or looked down on because a lecture is not artistic. A discussion or debate does not touch our emotions, but there are things that the artist needs to understand that emotion cannot.

At a basic level, spoken word is performance poetry. Some people read poetry into a microphone. Some people read poetry emotionally into a microphone. The good ones, I soon discovered, wrote poetry that would only be wholly understood when breathed into a microphone. It is music that is spoken.

I started to get into it, writing a little and listening a lot. Shortely thereafter I met Jesus. He can be rather disarming. Everything I was working on suddenly became wrong, and the opportunities to participate suddenly disappeared.

Inspiration has been resurrected. I recently discovered Bradley Hathaway and Amena Brown.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. jen permalink
    July 24, 2007 1:15 am

    wednesday, before church. sound good?

  2. jen permalink
    July 24, 2007 3:22 pm

    6ish at starbucks it is. See ya then.

  3. God's Love Changed Everything permalink
    July 25, 2007 11:14 am

    I dig the guy… which takes me by surprise.
    Thanks for sharing this! I love your blog, Lex!!

    PS How are you?

  4. Tami permalink
    August 4, 2007 1:55 pm

    finally took the time to watch these vids. i love the manly man. :) (at first i thought, “where is he going with this?” which is part of why i love it so much.) dramatic reading of poetry (especially your own) takes sooo much death to self. i used to write a lot of poetry in college when i was inspired by reading the american beatnik poets of the 50s. it takes a lot of guts to share your poetry with others, because it’s like laying your soul open to the world. not to mention the price of reading dramatically in front of people. it’s do-able but most would be unwilling. no easy thing.

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